Hi! Nat here! I want to tell you about Montreal artist and animal lover, Kels Deegan. Recently, we had a chat about an interesting project she’s helping out with in Curacao. In fact, Kels is in the country right now, lending a hand with the massive street dog problem.
STREET DOGS OF CURACAO
Curacao has approx. 150,000 human inhabitants. The stray animal population (while difficult to get exact numbers) is estimated at over 90, 000. All this on an island the size of Montreal.
CARF (Curacao Animal Rights Foundation) is a Chamber of Commerce-registered group, founded by Sheila Maal. They have a handful of volunteers and about 6 foster families. And a huge undertaking ahead of them.
Right now, there are 32 dogs at the CARF facility and over 100 in foster care. And tens of thousands more on the streets, suffering from a wide array of medical ailments: Scabies, demodectic mange, emaciation (with organ failure), Ehrlichia (tick fever), fleas and a LOT of heartworm.
Take a look at a few of the dogs CARF has rescued from the brink and nursed back to health and happiness:
So, how has this bloated to epidemic proportions? The locals are kind and friendly. Yet, the stray dog population is something that has always existed – and without education, information and programs to promote care of companion animals – the problem remains. And grows. And the indifference along with it.
Even with dogs everywhere, there are also puppy mills on the island, selling even more animals to pet shops. Fortunately, the younger generation is showing interest and promise in tackling the situation. But until a combined effort is implemented (from the Curacao government, its citizens and outside aid) – it will prove challenging.
Ask yourself: did YOU know this about Curacao until you read this post?
IN KELS’ WORDS:
Kels is hoping to raise awareness for the plight of the street dogs of Curacao and help CARF in their immense undertaking. In Kel’s words,
I understand why many people shut down emotionally; it is their way of protecting themselves from hurt and suffering in this world. But we need to realize if we completely disconnect from the reality of the suffering, the inhumane treatment, we then disconnect from our thoughts and the real problems around us. And by doing so, we cause the problems to continue and become even worse.
Having empathy, makes us see the reality of things we do not want to know about or deal with. Daily life is sometimes hard enough. But by avoiding these things, once again, we actually make the problems we are avoiding grow to such an extent that you have no other choice but to see it. Can we fix this? YES. We need to recognize the problems instead of avoiding and thinking; “Well there is nothing I can do.” So we move on without doing anything. We close our eyes to it and it kind of goes away… But it won’t – it will grow.
We need to feel bad to make us get into action and try our best to make a difference. The problem is huge. Yes, it is! But it is not insurmountable. Someone needs to step up, then others can fall in and help in little ways. In time we chip away at the big problem that becomes workable. And in doing so, we can make drastic changes in many lives. Ours included. We need to open our eyes & our heart, get past the hurt and pain. Make a conscious choice to help in any way we can, and with this Hope, change and survival will emerge. We can truly make a difference.
Kels has a long range goal to try to implement change on one island – and if it works, transfer the idea to other islands, states and provinces.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Can we, as Montrealers lend a hand and help Curacao? Of course. And sharing this post is a good start! Social media is a powerful tool.
If you or anyone you know is involved in the following areas, Kels wants to hear from you! (her contact info is below):
- Transportation: i.e. American Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – so adoptable dogs from the Island to be transported. CARF indeed has many adoptable animals – but airlines will not give discounts to people who are off the island and wish to adopt a dog (they charge $200.00 US to the Netherlands and in the states it varies).
- Food donations: Need to also find how it can be sent to the island. Food costs for CARF are about $1800/month
- Medical supplies: There is a tremendous amount of heartworm on the island, severe mange and organ failure due to emaciation *As a note to potential food/medical sponsors – CARF will gladly take photos of your products in use on the dogs and send back the results – for your own promotional use.*
- specialty shampoos, etc
- Funds (an online donation area will be launched soon)
- Publications or Pet magazine contacts
- Graphic artist or Marketing volunteers who would like to help with slogans, ideas, design
- Print company for printing flyers, T-shirts stickers etc.
- Share this post! 🙂
FOLLOW KELS’ BLOG:
Keep tabs on Kels’ summer of helping the street dogs of Curacao: http://nonobunny.blogspot.ca/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kels.deegan
or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
CARF facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CARFCuracao?fref=ts
CARF website: http://www.carf.an/